Glenarm men walk the Camino de Santiago way

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Three Glenarm men, Richie Hamill, Stephen Montgomery and Bill Steenson have taken on the challenge of completing the Camino Way in aid of an Alzheimer’s charity.

The Camino de Santiago, or St James’ Way, is a route that has been traversed for over 1,000 years, originally by pilgrims, but now completed by enthusiastic hikers as well.

It begins in St Jean Pied de Port on the French side of the Pyrenees and crosses over this rugged mountain range, into Spain, covering 800 kilometres. The usual time for completion is six to eight weeks.

Due to the historical religious origins of the walk, those taking part are referred to as “pilgrims”. Overnight accommodation is provided in refugios – similar to youth hostels. A recurring symbol along the route is a scallop shell – the emblem of St James. Legend has it that after his martyrdom, the saint’s body was being taken to the Iberian Peninsula, for burial. A great storm arose and the body was lost to the huge seas. However it was later washed ashore and covered in scallop shells which protected it from the sea, ensuring it was intact and undamaged.The saint was buried in Santiago cathedral.

Participants in the walk must have a credential – the pilgrim’s passport, which is stamped along the way, and when Santiago is reached, the passport is examined carefully before officials issue a certificate to prove the Camino Way has been completed.